Can students earn scholarships by playing video games?

October 25, 2012

TwitchTV - the world's largest streaming video game service joined forces with Dell and SteelSeries to provide $10,000 in money for college to five gamers whose academic achievements are matched only by their gaming expertise. The company isn't accepting any more applications for its 2012 scholarship program, but encourages gamers with hopes for higher education to apply next year.

"We expect parents to be very surprised that their sons and daughters are applying for scholarship money because of their gaming abilities," TwitchTV vice president Matthew DiPietro told Mashable.

Scholars wired to TwitchTV - which allows customers to watch other players' games, chat and compete with them remotely in real time -  will need a grade point average of at least 3.0 and some evidence that they're registered in an education program beyond high school. They also need to impress a judging committee with an impressive achievement in a game of their choosing. The criteria for "high level of achievement" is vague, but it includes high in-game rankings, top tournament placement, or just frequent participation in Twitch or other gaming groups.

In addition, students need to write an 800 word essay making their case for why they should be awarded the scholarship, and record a one-minute video where they explain why they love video games.

DiPietro also told Mashable his company sees this as an opportunity for gamers to transfer their passion into their career goals, and notes that streaming video games could be a good way for advertisers to reach the young-male demographic who may not watch as much broadcast television as they used to.

"You just have to prove your leadership and skill level in your game of choice," he told the news source. "We expect lots and lots of applicants in first-person shooter genre like Call of Duty or Halo, and strategy genre like StarCraft and World of Warcraft."

Powerful gaming skills aren't necessarily the only way a love for videogames can result in financial aid for school. Recently, 30 female and minority college students studying fields that could lead to careers working in video games were given scholarships from The Entertainment Software Association.

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